Man Charged in Hit-and-Run in Roseville: 'I Didn't See Him'

Updated: 09/19/2013 6:34 PM By: Maricella Miranda

Enrico Darius Taylor
Enrico Darius Taylor
Photo: Photo: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

Staff Sgt. Travis Torgerson was finishing his lunch break and walking back to work when an SUV reportedly hit him in a Roseville parking lot.

Torgerson allegedly was pulled underneath the SUV, and his co-worker rolled over the hood of the vehicle. The driver, later identified as Enrico Darius Taylor, reportedly stopped the SUV and used his foot to try to dislodge Torgerson, who was screaming, from the vehicle.

When the driver couldn't free Torgerson, he allegedly continued driving. He reportedly stopped a second time to try to release Torgerson from the SUV, but couldn't.

Those allegations are part of a criminal complaint against Taylor filed Thursday, Sept. 19, in Ramsey County District Court. Taylor, 52, of Minneapolis, has been charged with two felony counts of criminal vehicular operation and a lesser similar charge.

The complaint can be found here. Warning: the complaint contains graphic details.

The fatigues Torgerson was wearing that day are blackened, torn and his military boots are shaved down from being dragged on the road. Torgerson, a war veteran, is expected to be in the hospital recovering for months.

The hit-and-run happened around 1:40 p.m. in the Kohl's parking lot, 1651 County Road B2, the complaint said. Torgerson and his co-workers Staff Sgt. Michael Stroud, Staff Sgt. Adam Boktor and Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Knaak were returning to the U.S. Army Recruiting Center in Roseville when a green Jeep SUV hit Torgerson and Stroud, 29, of Brooklyn Park, while they were walking in the crosswalk.

Torgerson, 42, of Circle Pines, later told police that he believed his boot was stuck in the SUV's rear axle, which he couldn't dislodge, the complaint said. Witnesses said Torgerson was hanging onto the rear bumper, screaming for help as the vehicle dragged him.

Witnesses watched as the driver got out of the vehicle and used his foot to try to dislodge Torgerson, but couldn't, the complaint said. The vehicle continued to drive away, stopping again behind 2480 Fairview Avenue, where the driver tried to pull Torgerson free.

When Torgerson couldn't get loose again, the driver entered the vehicle again and drove south on Fairview Avenue, where he failed to stop for the red light, the complaint said. He kept driving westbound on County Road B2 and ran a stop sign at Prior Avenue.

As the driver turned south on Prior Avenue, Torgerson dislodged himself from the SUV and the vehicle continued to drive away, the complaint said. The driver entered a Motel 6 parking lot, where he asked a worker to call a cab for him. A witness later identified the driver as Taylor.

Police found Taylor walking in the direction of a car dealership, where they arrested him.

At first, Taylor denied driving the Jeep or his involvement with the hit-and-run, the complaint said. He later told police, "I freaked out because my license is suspended. I turned the corner coming up the hill. I got a contact in, the light blinded me, I didn't see him, he stepped in front of me, it was too late."

When Taylor drove away, he said he heard people screaming, but he was in a panic, the complaint said. He heard a voice coming from the back of his vehicle. Taylor said he got out and tried to help the man, but his leg was stuck. He drove away again when vehicles started to pull up behind him, Taylor told police. He said he thought the man was free when he drove away.

Taylor said he didn't target the man, who was dressed in a soldier uniform, the complaint said. It was an accident, he said. When investigators told Taylor that he had dragged the man all the way to County Road B and Prior Avenue, Taylor started to cry.

Taylor told police he was concerned for the man, but he was trying to protect himself, too, the complaint said. He admitted to placing the car keys in his buttocks and then flushing them down the toilet at the jail's holding cell. Taylor also said he didn't have insurance or a driver's license because it was revoked for fleeing police in a motor vehicle.

Taylor admitted to using cocaine on Sunday - two days before the crash - and drinking on Monday, the complaint said. But he denied being under the influence or drugs or alcohol when the incident happened.

At the scene, police found Torgerson face down on the pavement of the southbound lane of Prior Avenue, cradling his head in his arms, the complaint said. His clothes were tattered and he was bleeding. Torgerson had a broken right leg, which later required the placement of two rods, a plate in his right heel, a broken tailbone and several broken ribs. Deep cuts covered his body, which will require skin grafts.

Taylor has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1993, the complaint said. His convictions include robbery, terroristic threats, harassment and theft by swindle.

"He has a fake eye and wears a corrective lens in his left eye," said Roseville Police Detective Jennifer Engh. "He doesn't have a valid drivers license and has no medical clearance to be driving."